Macaroons Are French!
Well, kind of. The history of this simple little dessert is surprisingly muddled. Many countries have their own versions of macaroons, changing the recipe or the method of making the meringue slightly. South Korea like to purposely overfill their macaroons and the USA has a wide variety of flavours that would be fan favourites in America however they’re all traced back to French macaroons. Naturally, one would think Italian macaroons may have a similar story but it may be the case that Italian macaroons were the originals.
The earliest known macaroon recipe was found in Italy in the 17th century but it appears to be based off of an earlier French recipe. There were other recipes found even earlier under the name of macaroon but they’re just a little too different to be the origin of our favourite treat. The word ‘macaroon’ itself actually has its root in the Italian word maccarone, which refers to a cake or cookie made from ground almonds.
This all just refers to the biscuit of the dessert though, not the ensemble piece with two biscuits holding a layer of buttercream between them. That most definitely originated in France in the 1930’s and were known as Parisian macarons for a while before becoming popular enough to overtake the original biscuits.
National Macaron Day – March 20th
Yes that’s right, macaroons have their very own day to celebrate them. It comes about on March 20th every year but searching for ‘National Macaroon Day’ might turn up with the date May 31st. Why is this?
Macarons and macaroons are in fact 2 distinct pastries, one being the familiar layered biscuit while the other is a fluffy pastry using shredded coconut. So why do we use the word interchangeably and why does Miss Macaroon sell macarons instead?
In the UK and other English speaking countries we often say macaroon rather than macaron which is something that happens a lot when bringing over French loan words, it’s the same way we got the word ‘saloon’ from the French ‘salon.’ Actual macaroons just aren’t as well known or popular enough for people to make a big deal about it. In more recent times people have been making more of an effort to be accurate but it’s hard to let go of old habits. Many people compromise by saying ‘French macaroons’ so it’s a little more clear which dessert is being talked about.
They Are Gluten-Free
The ingredients used in a standard macaroon recipe are already gluten free, without any alterations to the recipe or any extra effort. Typically French macaroons are made using almond flour, egg whites, confectioners’ sugar and food colouring with the buttercream filling containing butter, sugar and something to flavour it with. At Miss Macaroon we also offer dairy free macaroons, which substitute butter for margarine, and a halal collection which only contains macaroons without any traces of alcohol.
Traditional Macaroons Aren’t Vegan
Macaroons are incredible but unfortunately they aren’t a miracle treat. Gluten-free? Absolutely. Low in calories? Of course. Delicious? 100% yes, but vegan? No, a typical, traditional macaroon isn’t vegan as it contains both dairy products and egg whites.
That being said, macaroon recipes are fairly versatile. There are dairy-free macaroons that substitute butter for margarine, keto-friendly sugar-free macaroons for the snack lover on a diet and yes, there are vegan macaroons too! One of the two non-vegan ingredients in macaroons has already been addressed with the advent of dairy-free macaroons, simply swap the butter for margarine but what about the egg whites?
There are a few suitable substitutes for egg whites but the most popular is aquafaba; a viscous water in which legume seeds, such as chickpeas, have been cooked. In cooking, it’s able to mimic the functionality of egg whites and is often used as a direct replacement in things like meringue, which is needed to make macaroon shells. While a great substitute for the traditional treat, vegan macaroons are much more fragile and tend to fall apart easily.
Our Macaroons Help People!
The macaroons we make at Miss Macaroon aren’t just delicious, they’re also for a good cause. 100% of the profits we make go towards helping young people find employment on our ‘MacsMAD programme.’
This is a course aimed at helping people aged 18-35 who’ve been unemployed for a long time get back into work or potentially find work for the first time. We focus on helping people push through their individual barriers and cope with their troubles like stress, mental health, learning difficulties etc.
4 weeks out of the 8 week course are dedicated to work experience, usually in our kitchen. Which means when you buy products from Miss Macaroon there’s a good chance the person who made your macaroons was someone down on their luck finally being given a chance. We like to say we’re baking a brighter future because, through the art of bakery, we give people opportunities to learn, grow, find what they want in life and give them the means to obtain it.